The Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson is one of the most highly recommended fantasy series I’ve ever come across. I’ve had this series on my TBR for at least 7 years and I’m absolutely kicking myself for taking so long to actually read it. This is one of the most masterfully written and plotted fantasy series I’ve ever read, and I’m very excited to pick more up from Sanderson in future.
The first book introduces us to the Final Empire, a world where ash falls perpetually from the sky, mysterious mists come during the night, the earth is brown and the sky is red. The Final Empire is ruled by an oppressive, god-like figure named the Lord Ruler and society is divided between the nobility and skaa. The skaa population have been treated as slaves, and the world has been this way for over a thousand years. Without giving away too much of the plot, the trilogy follows a crew who schemes to overthrow the Final Empire.
The Mistborn trilogy follows a plethora of interesting characters, though the main protagonist through all three books is Vin, a half-skaa girl who is a member of a small thieving gang. She’s their lucky charm, but unbeknownst to her, she is an Allomancer– an individual capable of ingesting and “burning” metals to grant magical effects such as strength, heightened senses or the ability to manipulate emotions, to name a few. There two types of Allomancers: Mistings, who can only burn one metal, and Mistborn, who are able to burn all the metals. Vin is the latter. When her abilities are recognised, Kelsier, another Mistborn known as the Survivor, takes Vin under his wing, teaches her about Allomancy and introduces her to his crew, whose latest scheme is to overthrow the Final Empire.
Allomancy is perhaps one of the most unique magic systems I’ve ever read about. Rather than being a learned ability, Allomancy is genetically inherited. There are strict rules to Allomancy, making it almost scientific, and I found that this made the system easily digestible. Allomancy is only one of the magic systems in the Mistborn trilogy, but I won’t go into details about the others, as I think that will give away too much of the plot and world-building.
Speaking of plot and world-building, Sanderson is an absolute master of both. Although I found the pacing tedious and slow at times, I have to admit that the world and story Sanderson has created here were so meticulously planned and plotted out. With every twist and turn throughout the trilogy, we gain a deeper understanding of the world Sanderson has crafted and every little piece of the puzzle fits together perfectly. Everything is foreshadowed well, and with each slow-burn reveal, you can tell Sanderson put a lot of effort and love into creating his world, right through to the end. As every piece of the puzzle falls into place, we’re brought to a satisfying resolution.
Where plot and world-building are Sanderson’s strengths, I’d say his weakness is probably in characterization. Sanderson’s character development across the trilogy is good, however his dialogue is choppy and some of the relationships aren’t as well fleshed out as they could be. In saying that, there is a level of complexity to each of his characters. They all have their own flaws and issues that are discussed and explored throughout the trilogy.
Overall, I thought the Mistborn trilogy was brilliant. Though I struggled at times with the pacing, I couldn’t help but appreciate the masterful crafting of the plot and world-building. Each book expanded on the world even further, the characters were further developed and everything came to a satisfying close. I’ll definitely be reading more of Sanderson’s work in the future, and if you haven’t picked this up yet, please make sure you do!
Thanks for reading,